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The Leben RS28CS has very high output voltage via the dual-triode NOS GE 6CG7s used in the shunt-regulated push-pull (SRPP) Linestage circuit and can provide power amplifiers with up to 80 Volts of clean output, more than double that of most preamplifier designs to easily drive amplifiers with even very low input sensitivity if need be.

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Listening impressions
The snow has been falling outside my window all day and is piling up in heaps. You couldn't ask for a better day to stay indoors with a fire burning in both the fireplace and the little glowing music bottles in my living room. I'm using the superb Audio Tekne interconnects and speaker cables and have been rolling different output tubes in the Leben CS660P power amp, with KT77s lighting up the room at the moment. All power cords are by Acoustic Revive and plugged into the very trick Acoustic Revive power supply boxes. Speakers are my usual Harbeth Super HL5s atop Skylan stands.

I'll start my listening impressions by discussing the line stage performance with digital sources. For the majority of the review, I used my trusty old Sony PS 1 SCPH-1001, the most musical Red Book digital source I've yet come across. I guarantee that audiophile sonic geeks won't get the PS1's musicality thing but that music lovers will be beside themselves with glee to get such a high level of musicality for such a fair price.

Let's start with the exquisite The Sound of Jazz album from the Columbia Jazz Masterpieces vault mentioned earlier. In the spirit of winter and snowstorms, the music for the TV show was recorded in 1957 in the midst of a winter blizzard at Columbia's 30th Street studios by jazz luminaries Henry 'Red' Allen and his All-Stars, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday, the Mal Waldron All-Stars, Ben Webster, Lester Young, the Count Basie All-Stars and too many other great jazz musicians to mention here. The show aired on CBS December 8, 1957 seven days before my zero'th birthday. 'Twas a good year all around!

The Sound of Jazz CD isn't likely to excite audiophiles with its somewhat average recording quality but music lovers will go gaga over the superb performances, making it a good test for the musical ability or musicality of a piece of kit. The Leben RS28CX's line stage really delivers the goods by imbuing the feeling of real music making in my listening room. The Leben scores high on my list of what's really important in gear by zeroing in on the musical essence so effectively, and by portraying its fundamental aspects so naturally and honestly.

For example, the Leben RS28CX's line section positively nails the signature timbres of the band and solo performers. The Red Allen All-Stars' horn section is in its glory in "Wild Man Blues" with an opening blattyness that sends shivers down my spine. In "Rosetta", it's the interplay between the musicians and their ability to purr the horns with a passion that would make a female tiger blush. In "Fine and Mellow", Billie Holiday's voice is so natural and expressively enchanting, it's positively intoxicating and the way the Leben RS28CX presents the natural life-like melodic flow of motion in this music would challenge the life-affirming naturalness of a bubbling and full of life Montana trout stream any day of the week. The Leben is positively wondrous in its ability to evoke the edifying feeling of real live music.

The way the RS28CX handles the sonics is sublime too in its artful balance always in service to the music. While each instrument and voice is clearly resolved with solid imaging in a big sense of space, there is never that sense of disconnectedness that some audiophile gear introduces. Rather, the RS28CX emphasizes the cohesiveness of the natural connectedness of the musicians playing off each other in what is a totally believable presentation. It's uncanny how the Leben connects you so completely with the music, nails the instrumental timbres and the natural decay of notes. The amount of low-level resolution supports the feel of instruments as experienced in real music making.